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Grant number: AQ-248229-16

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University of Rochester (Rochester, NY 14627-0001)
Thomas C. Devaney (Project Director: September 2015 to present)

NEH Enduring Questions Course on Death and Dying

The development and teaching of a new undergraduate seminar on what it means to die.

What does it mean to die? How have religious thinkers, philosophers, artists and ordinary people, across time and throughout the world, dealt with the notion of death and related concerns? Is death the end? Is immortality possible or even desirable? Is suicide ever morally justifiable? How does knowledge of inevitable death affect how we choose to live our lives? In this course, students will develop a rich understanding of how various cultures have confronted mortality, with attention to both commonalities and variations. By introducing students to alternate ways of thinking about death and bringing a historically-informed approach to discussions of contemporary issues, this course aligns well with NEH’s Common Good initiative. It will also help bridge the divide between humanistic and scientific studies by exposing students, far removed from death in our modern culture, to how we contend with eternal questions of meaning and ethics in the face of universal mortality.

Project fields:
Cultural History; History, General

Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Education Programs

Total amounts:
$19,341 (approved)
$19,341 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2016 – 5/31/2019